Greenwich Borough 1-0 Redhill - We're putting the club on the map, says Paul Blade

Sunday 12th October 2014

The FA Cup Third Qualifying Round
Sunday 12th October 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Princes Park Stadium

GREENWICH BOROUGH assistant manager Paul Blade says their longest ever FA Cup run is putting the club on the map.

The Southern Counties East Football League club booked their place in tomorrow’s Fourth Qualifying Round Draw for the very first time thanks to Billy Bennett’s clincher on the stroke of half-time.

The Dartford-based club are the lowest ranked club going into tomorrow’s Fourth Qualifying Round Draw, which will be made live on TalkSport Radio at 10:30.

However, the smallest club left in the completion are Willand Rovers, who sit in ninth place in the Toolstation Western League, and they stunned Ryman League Division One North side Aveley in Devon yesterday.

Greenwich Borough went into this tie sitting in 12th place in the table – 21 points adrift of leaders Erith & Belvedere but with six games in hand and they play Matt Longhurst’s side in their next league game at Park View Road on 8 November.

Greenwich Borough also broke a club record as today’s win was their ninth on the bounce.

Ian Jenkins’ side will join all 24 Vanarama Conference clubs (including landlords Dartford, Dover Athletic and Welling United) and 31 other qualifiers in the Draw and have now banked £18,425 in prize money after beating Lancing, St Francis Rangers, Chessington & Hook United, Beaconsfield SYCOB and beating a Redhill side that sat in the bottom six in the Ryman League Division One South table.

“Brilliant!” Great day for the club,” said Blade afterwards.

“We’ve made history for the club. They’ve never, ever been in the Fourth (Qualifying) Round so that’s good for the club and more importantly it’s good for us and everyone concerned with the club.

“The hard work that they’ve put in, they’ve backed us and everything we wanted, needed and it’s nice to see it sort of paying off.

“We looked really solid at the back.  We were organised. We’ve done our homework. We worked on Saturday morning about them, what we needed to do to impose ourselves on the game, to stop their threat.

“They’re a decent side so I think we’ve done our job today. We’ve all done our homework and we all put the effort in and we were just worthy winners.”

Greenwich Borough created their first chance inside the opening five minutes.

A poor clearance from Chris O’Flaherty fell to Chris Edwards and the winger poked his right-footed shot straight at goalkeeper Michael Hunter from 25-yards.

Redhill, who knocked out Ryman Premier League side Tonbridge Angels in the last round, created their first opportunity 57 seconds later.

Rob Hill looped a long throw into the penalty area and the ball was partially cleared out to Scott Harris, who laid the ball to Joe Goldsmith, who skied his right-footed drive over the bar from eighteen-yards.

Redhill started to stamp their authority on the game but they failed to trouble a vastly experienced back line of Joe Vines, Gary Borrowdale, Danny Young and Aaron Day.

Redhill striker Jevlon Campbell was released down the left and after cutting inside, his shot was blocked by Day and the ball looped up into Craig Holloway’s gloves for a comfortable near post save.

Gary Alexander’s free-kick was played into striker Lewis Wood, who played the ball inside to former Gillingham defender Borrowdale, who was given time and space to slice his left-footed drive harmlessly wide of the Redhill goal from 30-yards.

Danny Phillips then linked up well with Bennett outside the box and sprinted with the ball towards the edge of the box where his left-footed drive brought a comfortable low save out of Hunter, low to his left.

Greenwich Borough missed another chance when striker Paul Vines flashed his left-footed drive wide from 20-yards.

“The way we play and the players’ that we’ve got, we are going to create chances,” said Blade.

“We’ve been giving away sloppy goals, which we’ve stopped that and we’ve worked harder on that so I think if it was two or three I don’t think there could be any complaints but at the end of the day it’s just about winning the game no matter what the score is. We’ll take 1-0 every single time!”

Redhill took nearly 24 minutes to call Holloway into serious action.

Impressive right-winger Tyrone Pink picked the ball up and released midfielder Harris down the right channel and he cut the ball back for Pink who placed a first time shot straight at Holloway from inside the box.

Blade said: “He’s a top keeper, apart from anything else, he’s a quality goalkeeper and when you’ve got a solid back four and a solid goalkeeper, you’ve got a strong base to work through.

“We’re strong through the centre so if you nullify a team and they have one decent chance, I’d say you’ve done your job.”

Redhill linked up well with right-back Bradley Duke and Campbell and Duke’s cross from the right was cleared to Harris, whose hooked shot was blocked by a sea of red shirts inside the Greenwich Borough penalty area.

But Greenwich Borough won the game with 45:45 on the clock.

Paul Vines did well to shield the ball from his marker on the edge of the penalty area before cutting the ball back to Day, who took a knock to his knee from O’Flaherty before he swept the ball out to Edwards down the right channel.

Edwards whipped in a cross, which was glanced on by Paul Vines at the near post and the ball fell at Bennett, who drilled a low right-footed shot past Hunter from fifteen-yards.

Bennett, 21, scored his first goal of the season during their 3-1 win at Southern League Division One Central Beaconsfield SYCOB in the last round.

“Great finish,” said Blade.

“He’s been really good the last couple of weeks.  He’s been in and out of the side but he’s getting better and stronger and fitter.

“He gets about the pitch, he puts his foot in and he’s got a good little composure.

“It was a good finish. It was a good ball in and it’s not a difficult chance but he kept his head and made a good contact.  Brilliant! A great time to score.”

Blade admitted the goal changed Jenkins’ half-time team talk.

“Yes it does because you’re taking something in with you that you can, not protect, but your team talk does change because by then it’s still a tight game.  There was nothing in it so our team talk was ‘being solid again’ and it’s an easy one – don’t let them score! You win the game easy and that’s what we did.

“Nice to have a clean sheet as a defensive unit. One-nil’s always a great result.”

Greenwich Borough should have killed the game off with the first chance of the second half after 55 minutes.

Left-back Joe Vines got power behind a long throw into the penalty area and Lewis Wood wriggled free and chipped the ball over the keeper from a tight angle from eight-yards, only to see the ball drop agonisingly wide.

The diminutive striker came close to adding his 12th goal of the season.

“We thought it was creeping in but it’s just another opportunity for us,” said Blade.

“Had it gone in, the game would have been dead and buried but 1-0 you always think they’re going to sling everyone forward – like they did – and have an opportunity but we dealt with that and I think we were brilliant defensively as a team.”

O’Flaherty’s angled drive, from a tight angle, but a long way out, was gathered by Holloway at his near post, but Pink stood out for Redhill.

Pink went on a 20-yard run and whipped in a cross from the left but Campbell should have done better instead of looping his header over from eight-yards.

Mike Maher’s side dominated the corner count by ten-to-one, but they should have done better from one after 62 minutes.

O’Flaherty drove in a corner from the left, which was cleared away and Goldsmith rode Bennett’s challenge, but drilled his right-footed shot harmlessly wide from 22-yards.

Redhill pressed for an equaliser and it nearly came in the final fifteen minutes.

Pink showed his talent when he went on a 40-yard run and danced his way past three Greenwich players to cut into the penalty area but he bent his right-footed shot into the side netting from eight-yards when he only had former Arsenal keeper Holloway to beat.

“We knew he was a threat,” admitted Blade.

“If we nullify a player to having one chance in a game then I’ll say you’ve done your job because at this level of football they’re always going to have opportunities.

“I don’t think they had that many but to wait that long to have an opportunity so be it. We dealt with it. He shot wide. You just carry on.”

Redhill then produced a sweeping move and Harris played the ball into substitute Fiachra McArdle, who played a reverse pass to play in Joe Bingham, whose first shot was blocked by Holloway at his near post, who swiftly pounced on the midfielder’s follow-up shot.

“He’s a top goalkeeper, he’s probably the best goalkeeper in this area anyway so it’s not a problem,” said Blade.

“We rely on him now. We know what he’s all about. He pulls off save-after-save today. He’s got good hands. He works hard as well in training. He didn’t just rely on that. He works hard. He puts the effort in, puts a shift in and it paid off.”

Harris’ fine diagonal pass was hit first time by O’Flaherty, which flashed past the post from 25-yards.

But Greenwich Borough failed to kill the game off when Paul Vines drilled his shot wide of the near post after Borrowdale clipped a long ball forward out of defence.

Redhill’s last chance came in the final three minutes when Holloway made a low save to his left to prevent McArdle sweeping his right-footed shot into the corner from just inside the box.

Blade added: “It’s a strike on target but it never troubled him. He’s got good hands so it’s just another save.”

But if the members of the national press claim that Greenwich Borough are a little Southern Counties East Football League side that are just going out for a big day out in the next round on 25 October, then they’ve got another thing coming to them because most of their squad have experience of a higher level of football.

For a start, Greenwich Borough have won a record breaking nine games on the spin.

Blade said: “It’s a great run. I think that’s the record for that as well.  They’ve never won nine on the spin before and also that’s another little thing that we’ve done.

“There’s a long way to go yet we’re just pleased we’ve got an opportunity to put the club on the map.

“We’ve got great coverage this week with the Ian Wright article in the centre pages of The Sun. How good is that?!  As players you get to an age that you’re still getting headlines and you’re still putting yourself up there. It’s good. It gives you a good appetite and we’ll just keep going on.”

The last team from this league to reach The FA Cup First Round were Hythe Town in 2010, who stunned Conference South side Staines Town at home in the Fourth Qualifying Round before losing 5-1 away to then League Two side Hereford United.

“Hopefully the draw will be favourable to us as it has been so far but we’ve got to realise the teams are going to get better and better and stronger and stronger.

“We’ll take anyone that comes. We’ll play anyone. We won’t fear anyone. We’ll enjoy it, we’ll do our homework and we’ll work hard.

“I don’t think there will be many teams that want to play us.

“We’ve been told we are the lowest team so there’s always someone who has to be at the bottom and someone at the top so it doesn’t bother us one bit.

“We’ll just keep going. It’s nice being the underdogs so there’s pressure on the team that we play against because they’re expected to win but we know what we’re all about and everyone that plays us at the moment knows they’re going to get a game.”

The dream tie would be a clash against landlords Dartford, who needed two games to beat Ebbsfleet United in the Fourth Qualifying Round before losing 4-2 at Salisbury City in the First Round last season.

“It’s a good place to be at the moment,” said former Dart Blade.

“I don’t know really, it’s a difficult one.  I’d rather get Dartford in the First Round of The FA Cup than the Fourth Qualifying Round!

“You’ve got to realise now you are going to get a good side now so you’ll need a little bit of luck but as I’ve said before it doesn’t matter who we play against, we’ll give them a game.”

Greenwich Borough: Craig Holloway, Aaron Day, Danny Young, Billy Bennett, Joe Vines, Gary Borrowdale, Lewis Wood, Gary Alexander, Paul Vines, Danny Phillips (Chris Saunders 89), Chris Edwards.
Subs: Jamie Wood, Scott Kinch, Steve Jarrom, Jack Mahon, Reiss Powell, Frankie Beale

Goal: Billy Bennett 45

Booked: Chris Edwards 40, Gary Alexander 60, Billy Bennett 90

Redhill: Michael Hunter, Bradley Duke, Rob Hill, Scott Harris, John Difford, Jordan Anderson, Tyrone Pink (George Cousins 82), Joe Goldsmith, Jevlon Campbell, Joe Bingham, Chris O’Flaherty (Fiachra McArdle 64).
Subs: Tom Howard-Bold, Leyton Regan, Brendan Dwusu-Ansah, Sam Butler, Adam Faith

Booked: Michael Hunter 90

Attendance: 227
Referee: Mr Neil West (Leigh-on-Sea, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Peter Newman (Billericay, Essex) & Mr Martin Osborne (Leigh-on-Sea, Essex)